I’ve had to learn to develop reasonably thick skin when it comes to my work. After all, you can’t please all the people all the time, so why try. The way I look at it, not everyone’s gonna like my writing, and it’s all good. We all have different experiences, come from different backgrounds and find different things appealing. Case and point, some people actually care what happens in the lives of Heidi and Spencer. Anyway, I’ve sent out ten query letters, have received a response so far from seven of those agents. To the one who wanted to see more pages, I did a little Jamaican jig, then sent my first five or so chapters off. To the five who communicated, very succinctly, that they were not in the least bit interested in my work, I very maturely mumbled that they should “suck it,” then composed myself and sent off a short, polite email thanking them for taking the time to read my query. But then there was this one response that wasn’t asking to see more pages. Actually, it was blowing me off completely, but it wasn’t so succinct or formulaic. It was actually very sweet the way this agent told me to “go scratch,” and it went something like this:
“I sincerely want to thank you for considering me worthy of reading and potentially representing your work. While your query was an interesting read, I don’t quite feel I am the person to do your novel proper justice by representing it. I wish you much luck in your career.”
What the hell! Well, how am I supposed to respond to that? I mean, I know how to respond: “While it is not the response I was hoping for, I want to thank you for taking the time to read my query.” Problem is, I can’t yell, “suck it.” I can’t call her a jerk. I can’t try to make myself feel better by mumbling, “If you’re saying no to me, the books you represent probably all bite ass.” With her pleasant, non-standard blow off email, this agent actually did more harm to me than good. Does this woman not understand that I’m a New Yorker? Does she not understand that disinterested or mean serves to fuel and fire me up? What the hell is with all that nice? It’s like when my girl, Consuelo, and I went to see the Yankees play the Angels in Anaheim and we started up our pro Yankees, anti Angels chants and these fool fans actually said, “Well, what can we say, the Yankees are a great team.” Shut me and Consuelo up immediately. And all that animosity filled –I’ll shank you in a prison yard scuffle - attitude flowing through our veins just sort of fizzled out and we didn’t feel so high and mighty. Same principle here. Being killed by nice is the worse way to go. So, a personal plea to all you agents. If you don’t like my work, just say it! Don’t try to cushion the blow, don’t try to baby me because you’re doing more harm than good.
And since I used that baseball analogy before, just a little aside. The past month of the baseball playoffs has seen me swigging more beer than a cross-country trucker. It’s been nerve racking, it’s been decadent and I’m quite certain my liver is considerably smaller because of it. I have written little & sworn lots, but the timing couldn’t have been more perfect for my little sports diversion since the work situation (which I still can’t yet speak on) & a personal situation (can’t yet speak on this one yet, either), are just as stressful as before. And I’m not sure whether it’s coincidence or cosmic intervention, but that little sports break couldn’t have come at a better time. In closing (why does this sound like a valedictory speech all of a sudden), I’d like to congratulate my New York Yankees on winning their 27th World Series championship. And, I would like to tell all the obnoxious Yankee haters out there to SUCK IT! For the ones who are not as obnoxious, I would like to ask them to become more so, so that I can also tell them to SUCK IT!…and have no remorse about it.